Today I received my hearing aids.
To be honest, I was a bit skeptical about it all. Was my hearing really that bad? Was it really--
Sure. I was one of those people who turned the television up really, really loud, and frankly, it was never loud enough. I'd known for a long time that I couldn't hear my family during dinner conversations, or in family gatherings and I had just given up conversing. I struggled to understand people in public settings, and fudged my way around most get-togethers with people. I'm naturally shy and melancholy, so, if I missed something here or there I could manage with a smile, a nod and a laugh.
But I was still a bit skeptical, even though, for many years now, I'm had a growing inkling that something was wrong. My sister was having to translate more conversations for me when we took trips in the car with Mum and Dad, this was more noticeable now because we're adults, and we have adult conversations - while - when we were kids, you never really paid that much attention to what your parents were saying on trips.
Now though, Mel had to constantly relay what was being said back to me.
And if I took a trip with Mum and Dad without Mel - well - I just gave up hearing my parents at all.
And I was having trouble hearing my nephews, something they were picking up on. Everyone else heard them fine, but I couldn't hear them. As much as it was a funny joke that I was a bit deaf -- it nibbled on the back of my mind.
What if --
What if I actually couldn't hear things.
So I went to get it checked.
And it came back as being moderate to severe hearing loss - but - it didn't hit me what that truly meant until today. Nothing prepared me for today. I cannot believe how much I have been missing out on. I am overwhelmed and I don't think I can process the enemority of the whole thing very well either...
As soon as I start letting myself think, I start crying.
It might take a few days.
I have never heard the clicking sound of my keyboard, nor the clicking of my mouse, and now, in my office, I can hear them so clearly. But the most incredible thing is the birds. I have all my windows open, and I can hear birds.
I have never heard the birds before.
I have lived in my house for four years and I have never heard the birds. I have sat out on the front porch, enjoying the beautiful morning and evenings and never heard the birds. I have had the windows open all day, and never heard the birds.
When I got home from having my hearing aids installed I walked around the corner of my house and dropped my bags.
Birds. It sounded like hundreds of birds all around me.
No - no - that was impossible. Surely I would have heard them.
I grabbed my phone and switched off the hearing aids.
I turned the hearing aids back on.
The birds returned.
I turned the hearing aids off.
Oh. My. Gosh.
No way. I've been living in my cottage, all these years, and I have never heard this incredible chorus all around me.
I burst into tears. How could I be so happy, so immensely overjoyed and yet so sad all at once.
It has been a weird day.
A weird day of realising all the things I have never heard, like the rustling wind in the treetops. I've heard wind - but usually when it's stormy - not rustling wind. Not normal, everyday wind that just exists all the time. My brain has been freaking out all day trying to process this new sound. All the new sounds come in like static - I swear, it sounds like static white noise - until I slowly begin to separate the new noises and hear them properly. It's as if my brain is having to compartmentalise and say: "Okay, that's rustling wind, okay, that's the sound a sprinkler makes hitting a rock, that's your feet on the pavement, that's the cat crunching its treats, that's the cat eating wet food, that's the fridge you've NEVER heard. Haha, the fridge is loud."
The weirdest thing at the moment is hearing my body movements. Hearing myself breathing and swallowing. It is really disconcerting. I also never liked the sound of my own voice, I hated it growing up - and apparently - that's because I never heard it correctly. I was hearing it back through my bones and not through my ears. I can finally hear my voice like it's supposed to sound, and it sounds so normal.
So, yeah, it is going to take some getting used to.
But - good news - now, when you meet me, I'll finally be able to hear you. Isn't that fantastic!